by K.G. Justin de Silva

The World

As referred in Buddhism The world (conventional world) can be explained as the universe, sun and planets ,galaxies etc

In fact Buddhism accepts six realms of life as worlds too described as Heaven (enjoyment), humans (emotions of the kama world) , asuras (fighting), Preta ( the beings in need over to greed such as hunger etc.) Animals , and the hell (those born with unwholesome karma for punishments).

Zen Buddhism adds four more realms of spiritual worlds as Sravaka, Pratyeka budda, Bodisatva, and Budda.

It is essential to understand the world that we live in today is the human sphere with the desires of five aggregates or five senses, with the mind as an additional sense in the context of Buddhist philosophy to understand Buddhism.

The six senses of eyes, ears, nose, tongue (taste) and touch with a sixth sense, the mind as an organ, form six individual senses which too are understood as six worlds . It is an utmost important fact in understanding Buddhist Philosophy.

Lord Buddha in the “Rahulovada Sutra” in explanation of the world, advised Rahula (his son who attained priesthood), to understand his own self as one world in comparison with the earthly world. Here it was emphasized that his physical self comprises of five elements Apo (water) , Tejo (fire), vayo (air) ,patavi (earth) and Akasa (space). These five elements of a being formed the “Rupa” or material entity of a being.

Apo, tejo, vayo , patavi, Akasa would also be explained as liquid(friction), tejo (heat element or temperature), vayo (property of air or vibration) and patavi (hardness and or softness) and Akasa (space). These comprise not only the earth but also the universe as explained by Lord Buddha.

The Rupa (apo, tejo, vayo, patavi, akasa) along with a non visual energy or a force named as “Nama” or the mind combined to form a being. Nama forms the elements of the mind. Nama also is explained as “citta” (thoughts) and “cetasika” ( consciousness and its 52 mental factors co exist with the thoughts)).

A third force known as Jivitendriya, or life energy became the driving force of Nama and rupa which sustained the continuation of a being.

Jivita meaning Life and Indriya meaning Faculty is combined with the third force (Jivitendriya) which drives the combination of Nama and Rupa as is explained in the texts.

These three different forces Nama, Rupa and Jivitendriya combine to form a being, which could be a “being” described in the” Karaniya Metta Sutra” such as beings described as, weak or strong, long, huge or medium- sized, short, minute or bulky, visible or invisible, born and or seeking birth,. An individual being can also be classed a similarity in physical composition to the universe or the earth.

Each planet (in conventional truth) too can be expressed as a world.

One of the best ways to understand these factors is meditation on Apo, tejo, vayo, Patavi and Akasa as sought by the priest Rahula, primarily with a first Ana pana sathi Bhavana developing to vipassana meditation. Please refer to Rahulovada Sutta to understand these factors.

Lord Buddha emphasized in inconsistency of worlds, taken our body as a world within and or externally. Lord Buddha also explained the inconsistency of worlds of six consciousnesses taking each consciousness as a world.

Separate Consciouneses (Vinnana) based on eye, ear, tongue, nose, skin (touch) and mind are these six.

That is not all. Then we come across the Rohitassa Sutra, an explanation of the world and universe by Lord Buddha, at another instant explained to Deva Rohitassa.

Next Chapter   Prev.   TOC